Analysis of House Budget Cuts on Working Families in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Monday, 28 February 2011 12:06
DATE:                  February 24, 2011

Last week the U.S House of Representatives approved a budget for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011 that would drastically cut funding for programs that help working families, such as child care subsidies for low-income families and a wide range of education programs.  

“Working families in Iowa and around the country are sitting around their kitchen tables and wondering how to balance the struggles of child care and access to a quality education with busy schedules and a tough economy,” said Harkin.  “For low-income Iowans, those struggles are multiplied.  There is no question that the time has come for tough budget decisions, but the smart way to bring down the deficit is for Congress to pursue a balanced approach of major spending cuts and necessary revenue increases, while continuing to invest in the programs that grow our future, while creating and maintaining jobs.”

Cuts to specific programs that would affect Iowans include:

Head Start: The House plan would cut over $1 billion from the Head Start program, which provides comprehensive early childhood services—education, nutrition, health, social, and emotional development—to nearly one million low-income children and their families.  This would eliminate those services for about 218,000 children and their families next year (an almost 25 percent reduction), close 16,000 Head Start classrooms, and lay off 55,000 teachers, teacher assistants and related staff. 
  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: There are 18 Head Start grantees in Iowa providing early childhood services to over 7,000 low-income children and their families.  The House plan would eliminate those services for about 1,800 children next year, close 100 classrooms, and lay off 400 teachers and related staff. A map of the Iowa Head Start centers can be found here.

Child Care: The House plan would cut $39 million nationally from the Child Care and Development Block Grant, just as child care funding provided in the 2009 Recovery Act is coming to an end.  The grant program provides subsidies to low-income working families to help pay for the cost of child care, as well as funds to improve the quality of care.  The House plan would eliminate subsidies for about 165,000 low-income children, significantly reducing the availability and affordability of quality child care for low-income families.  These are families that are working, or in some cases looking for work, and that depend on those subsidies to do so.

  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: The House plan would eliminate child care subsidies for over 1,500 low-income Iowa families next year.

Afterschool Programs: The House plan would cut funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program by $100 million, which would eliminate before- and after-school services, summer enrichment programs, and similar services for an estimated 100,000 students across the country.  Such programs provide a safe environment and extended learning opportunities for students, and make it easier for parents to work.  Funding is targeted to schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families.

  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: Iowa would lose more than $500,000 in funding, denying more than 500 students an opportunity to benefit from safe and productive learning environments after school and other extended learning opportunities.

Title I Grants: The House plan cuts Title I education funding by nearly $700 million, meaning 2,400 schools serving one million disadvantaged students could lose funding, and approximately 10,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs.  Title I funding is the foundation of federal support for elementary and secondary education and provides a flexible source of funding that can be used to support extended learning opportunities for students.

  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: Iowa would lose more than $4.5 million in grants to local educational agencies under the House plan.

School Improvement Grants: The House plan cuts school improvement grant funding by nearly $337 million.  These funds are targeted by states to their lowest performing schools.  These funds may be used by schools to provide extended learning time for students.

  • Estimated Impact on Iowa: Iowa would lose more than $1.7 million in grants to local educational agencies under the House plan.

Harkin’s full statement on the budget proposals before Congress can be found here.

For a compilation of all outreach pieces on this issue, please click here

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